What is address munging?
What are spam bots?
Spam bots, also called spam spiders, are programs written to automatically search the web for email addresses. They pick up any email addresses they find in order to send them spam and junk mail.
What exactly is spam?
Spam is precisely defined as Unsolicited Commercial Email. Some people have "home spun" definitions. Mine is every annoying bit of email that I didn't ask for. I even include chain mail in my definition of spam.
Why does email address munging make my email address invisible to spam bots?
While the person viewing your page uses a browser, spam bots do not. They look directly at the source code for your page without ever looking at the display. Since they do not see an email address, they are not able to copy it and use it to spam you.
Why doesn't the spam bot just convert my email address back into the displayed format and copy that?
An extremely small amount actually do. The reason that most don't is that almost no one tries to mask and hide their email addresses from spam bots in any way. Also, those who are smart enough to mask their email address from spam bots don't use the same email address masking method. Even more, they tend to be smart enough not to click on spam. As a result, a bot, and specifically the person who wrote the bot's code, who even tried to find email addresses hidden in some specific format would not find very many. Since their goal is quantity, they usually do not search for email addresses munged this way.
What else can I do to prevent spam?
Though displaying your email address without making it an active link looks more unprofessional, this can help you avoid using the mailto handle and also the "@" symbol, two things spammers look for. You can also make your email address displayed as something like
Do not click on links that look suspicious. Sometimes bad links are obvious, but sometimes they are not. Links that say click here to make us your homepage are a great example of links you shouldn't trust. Another great example are links in spam. Sometimes people click on links just to see where they go. DO NOT do that.
Do not give your email address to sites you do not trust. Some easy guidelines to tell if you should not trust them are if you are or could be an instant winner, if you are getting a very good and equally exclusive deal, or if you would not want your child or grandmother to see you on the site.
Use multiple email addresses. Use one email address especially for signing up for news groups and special advertisements through stores. Use one that you do not mind throwing away if it gets too much spam. Depending on your email client, you should be able to forward email from one email address to another, so that you don't have to check multiple accounts frequently.
If you can, don't even read chain letters. Try not to forward chain letters. If you feel overcome with the urge to forward the chain letters, do the previous recipients a favor and delete all of their email addresses from the email. Also, do not download images in chain letters.
Chain mail is a classic way that spammers collect email addresses. Most of the time, chain mail will have a huge list of all the people, including their email addresses, that received the chain letter.
If you know the person who sent you the chain letter, politely ask them not to send them to you anymore. However, if you do not know the person who sent it to you, do the opposite. Quickly mark the email as spam, and do not reply to the person who sent it to you.
Don't click on "unsubscribe" links in spam. I've seen a lot of reputable antispam sites advocating "unsubscribing", but oh my, that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. You never actually "subscribed" to begin with, and they still have your email address, correct? Trying to unsubscribe from spam will just give them verification that your email address is real.
I've gotten some spam. What can I do now?
There are a lot of expensive software that claim to completely eliminate spam for you. Don't believe them.
Let's be clear. Once you get some spam, it means spammers have your email address. From then on, some spam is unavoidable, and the amount you get from then on is dependent on a few things. One is luck, and the other is being smart about not getting your email address to other spammers.
Some spammers stop spamming a few days or weeks after they start, while some don't. Some redistribute or sell email addresses, while others don't. Some send thousands of spam emails, while some send billions.
Even still, there are things that you can do to reduce spam and prevent future spam.
The best spams to do this with are spam that contain a website URL. If the spam contains a URL, don't click on the URL, but go to whois.com and find who the owner of that website is.
spamcop.net has a good tool to automate this process.
I personally don't like these, because not all machine-generated emails are spam. For me, actually, well over 90% of the email I receive on my non-addressmunger.com account is machine-generated. Challenge-Response systems makes it difficult to manage these sites.
The idea behind sending a bounce message is that the spammer would receive your bounce message and remove your email address from their lists. This can obviously be risky, since many spammers always assume replies are real.
Where did the name "Spam" come from?
(Source) This is a tricky one. No one knows exactly. The food SPAM (all letters capitalized) is created by Hormel Foods. It is believed by many that the name for Email Spam came from a Monty Python sketch on SPAM.
The first ever known spam was sent through Arpanet, a precursor to the internet, by a DEC marketing rep.
The term Spam became popular when many abusive users who frequented BBSs and MUDs would repeat either the word SPAM or lines from the Monty Python sketch on Spam in order to scroll posts from the screen.
The first mass spammers were lawyers Laurence Canter and Martha Siegel, who used Usenet to advertise immigration law services, now known as Green Card Spam. They then promoted spamming of Usenet and email as a new means of advertising.
How do I hide my webpage from search engines?
First, be extremely sure that that's what you really want to do. If it is, paste some or all of the following meta tags into your page header:
Note: No one knows how permanent these tags are. If you put these on your site and decide to remove them later, I don't know how long it will be until search engines reindex your site.
Are there any differerences between an email address munger, an email address encoder, and an email address encrypter?
Or mailto encoder, email address obfuscator, or email address disguiser, hider, masker, cloaker, distorter, concealer .... Absolutely nothing. Sometimes people might call one an email munger, email encoder, email encrypter, email obfuscator, etc. However, these names without the word "address" in them, might refer to the encoding of an actual email to be sent, versus the munging of the email address to be posted on a webpage.
Some people don't say "munge" (like "lunge"), they say "mung" (like "hung"). I actually looked up both words, and they both work. I even looked up some of the history of the words, and it's not clear which came first. We here at AddressMunger.com say "munge".
How can I tell others about your site?
Link to us. Email your friends, coworkers, and people you know about us. Mention this site to friends and in forums. Don't overdo it, though. Post no more than two or three links to this site. Posting links to our site all over the internet IS spamming, and that's what this site is fighting.
We are also in desparate need of human translators. (No computerized translations please.) If you would like to volunteer to be a translator, Contact us through this page, generated by our contact form generator.
I have a question, comment, or suggestion not covered above. How can I contact you?
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